Grissom receives foundation’s first 2014 external research award

Will Grissom, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, has been awarded the first External Research Award of 2014 from the Focused Ultrasound Foundation for his project titled “MR Temperature Imaging Toolbox for Focused Ultrasound Neurosurgery.”

The foundation’s External Awards Program provides funding for investigator-initiated clinical, pre-clinical, and early-stage research projects through a competitive peer-reviewed application process.

This project aims to develop brain temperature imaging sequences and processing algorithms that directly address the current shortcomings of magnetic resonance thermometry at each stage of therapy.

William Grissom

Grissom was one of the invited attendees at the Foundation’s 2012 Brain Program imaging workshop and attended the 2013 treatment envelope workshop via Skype. The project will involve collaboration with Craig Meyer, associate professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at the University of Virginia.

Magnetic resonance imaging plays a central role in noninvasive focused ultrasound surgery in the brain because it provides temperature “mapping” during treatment. The temperature maps are used both to steer the ultrasound beam and to measure thermal dose.

However, current MR thermometry methods provide insufficient spatial coverage and suffer large distortions, which may compromise patient safety and limit the overall effectiveness of the therapy.

Grissom’s research interests include applications of signal processing and numerical optimization in magnetic resonance imaging, with a particular focus on interventional and high field MRI. Grissom joined the School of Engineering at Vanderbilt in 2011 from General Electric Global Research in Munich, Germany, where he was a research engineer in the Imaging Technologies group. He completed a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering in 2008 at the University of Michigan.

The Focused Ultrasound Foundation is a medical research, education and advocacy organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia.